Cut in federal funding to some Texas COVID-19 testing sites won’t affect San Antonio, city says

U.S. Sens. Cornyn, Cruz say 'now is not the time to end' program

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAN ANTONIO – The Trump Administration’s plan to stop federal funding at seven Texas coronavirus testing sites will not affect any San Antonio access points.

City officials said the drive-thru sites in San Antonio are not federally funded, unlike in some major Texas cities.

The Trump Administration has said it will cease funding to 13 testing sites in five U.S. states at the end of the month.

According to the Texas Tribune, elected officials from both parties in Texas have fought back against the closures as COVID-19 cases continue to spike.

Governor Greg Abbott pauses additional reopening phases due to surge in COVID-19 in Texas

Federally funded sites in Houston, El Paso and Dallas are scheduled to close on June 30, the report states.

Lawmakers want the federally funded sites to remain in Texas to keep up with the demand. Across Texas, other testing sites are funded by private companies, local governments or the state level.

A bipartisan group of Houston legislators — both federal and state — have written a letter to President Donald Trump, requesting to keep the drive-thru sites open, the Tribune reported.

Lawmakers from both parties urge Trump administration to keep funding seven Texas coronavirus testing sites

On Thursday, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor and asked for an extension, according to CNN.

“Texas is currently experiencing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases. In the last two weeks, daily new cases, the overall positivity rate, and hospitalizations in Texas have all increased. Some of the state’s largest cities -- where these CBTS sites are located -- are experiencing single-day records of new cases,” the letter, obtained by CNN, said.

“Now is not the time to end a program that is working and successfully increasing testing capacity -- especially for underserved communities in the state. Due to the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in Texas, cities need additional time to prepare for the transition to state and local control of the testing sites.”

Texas has recorded more than 131,000 coronavirus cases and 1.83 million total tests conducted, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Gov. Abbott suspends elective surgeries in Bexar County

Gov. Greg Abbott has taken an urgent tone this week about practicing social distancing, limiting gatherings and wearing facemasks, although he has not issued a statewide mask order.

On Thursday, he announced the temporarily halt on elective surgeries and a pause in reopening.


About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas has worked as a digital journalist in San Antonio for six years. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.